Women-led businesses make a staggering $1.8 Trillion in annual revenue. They also have a greater ROI than their male counterparts.
But women who attempt to secure business loans are shown to have slightly lower approval rates than men.
Even though women can get loans, the interest rates on these loans are higher and smaller than those of men.
Many financing options exist, including federal grant programs, which can help bridge the funding gap for women.
These grants can be applied for. There are also some resources to help you locate federal funding opportunities.
Also, read 6 Best Personal Grants For Women
1. Small Business Technology Transfer Program and Small Business Innovation Research Grants
The Small Business Administration created the STTR grants and SBIR to assist companies in technological research.
The SBA primarily funds this program, but recipients have the option to work with other federal agencies, depending upon the type of work they do. Connecting with other agencies may help you get more research funding.
The following are eligibility requirements:
- 500 employees and less
- Cannot be a nonprofit organization
- You must own at least half of your property as permanent residents or us citizens.
It can be complicated to navigate the SBIR and STTR application process. Fundera offers a great guide for small business owners who require assistance.
Other SBA Resources
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers more than financial support. Their website offers a wealth for female entrepreneurs.
You can find information on networking opportunities, small business loans, and help with taxes on the Learning Platform.
Additionally, you never know when another grant will be offered, so it is a good idea to stay on top of any updates via their website.
Is your business in need of working capital? Learn how Now can help get faster invoice payment today
Dream Big Small Business of the YearThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s dream big grant contest is an annual competition that helps small businesses and encourages economic growth.
One company is eligible for $25,000 each year. The COC states that they want to recognize small businesses that demonstrate the spirit and entrepreneurship of innovation and individual initiative.
These requirements are required in order for businesses to be eligible.
- For-profit company
- A minimum of one-year-old
- 250 employees and less
- Annual revenue of $20 million or more
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Awards
A small business can also receive eight additional Business Achievement Awards through this program.
One award is the Women Owned Achievement Award.
Your business must meet two requirements to be eligible.
- US-resident women own 51%
- A woman or group of women managed and operated the company on a daily base
All Business Achievement Awards winners get a free 1-year Chamber of Commerce membership and a sticker for your website. Annual dinner awards prizes.
While it might not be grant money for your company, this is good publicity!
Also, read 6 TIPS TO GET PERSONAL GRANTS
2. 8(a) Business Development Program
While the 8(a) Business Development Program is not a grant program, it can help you propel your business forward by giving you a very lucrative government contract.
The federal government has set a goal to give 5% of all contracts to economically disadvantaged small businesses. This program supports them in this goal.
You must complete the following checklist to apply for this opportunity.
- a small business certified by the SBA
- You must be a good person and able to finish the contract.
- A previous 8(a) contract recipient has not been considered
The applicant must also be 51% owned by financially or socially disadvantaged entrepreneurs.
This is a business that has:
- $750,000 in personal net worth or less
- $6 million in assets or less
- An adjusted gross income below $350,000
You can apply to this program to be eligible for federal contracts valued at millions of dollars.
This website lists hundreds of grants which are open to everyone. It includes both federal and non-federal grants.
Remember that grants are available for both individuals and businesses.
You should carefully review the grant information before you apply for it. This will help you avoid wasting time or money applying for grants that you aren’t eligible for.
To apply for any Grants.gov grant, you will need to Register. Next, filter your search so that you find the one that best suits your needs and business criteria.
This program allows individuals and organizations to assist the federal government in solving problems.
Depending on your business’s nature, you might have the solution the U.S. government seeks.
There are many contests in a variety of areas, including engineering and healthcare. Each competition has its eligibility requirements and prize.
Non-Federal Grants for Women
Grants provided by government agencies are extremely competitive and difficult to qualify.
Private organizations often offer grant programs for business. You can apply for these grants to get the money that will help your small business meet its financial needs.
Here are some that are specifically designed for women entrepreneurs.
Since 1998, WomensNet Amber Grant helps young women achieve their business dreams.
The grant is given to one individual each month in the amount of 10,000, with four finalists each receiving $1,000.
Each of the twelve monthly winners will be eligible to receive the $25,000 award at the end of the year.
WomensNet also offers small business grants up to $5000 as well as mini-grants of up to $2000.
You still have many opportunities to win money from this company, even if the amount isn’t as large.
Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards
This grant opportunity will be open to all women in the world whose startups have a positive socio-economic and ecological impact.
For this grant to be available, the business must:
- Start a non-profit organization during its initial stages
- You have generated at least one year’s worth of revenue
- Meet one of the UN SDGs
Seven regional awards have three winners, and a Science and Technology Pioneer Award, has three winners.
The winner receives $100,000 and the runner-ups $30,000.
All winners will be enrolled in the Fellowship program. This program equips them with all the skills and knowledge they need to manage a successful business.
Mentorship is provided by industry experts, successful entrepreneurs, and academics.
Winners are also part of a long-lasting community of like-minded women who work hard in business and stand up against injustices.
The Women’s Business Center offers grants every year.
Here are a few:
The Entrepreneur of the Year award
This award provides $100,000 to a female entrepreneur who has attracted the organization’s interest.
Honorees, runners-up, and honorees receive monetary grants as well as mentoring and coaching scholarships.
Jane Walker * IFundWomen First Women Grant program
This program provides $10,000 to 15 women who are interested in starting businesses in the fields listed below:
- Entertainment & Film
Applicants for this grant must submit a 60-second video demonstrating why their company is unique and breaking the boundaries of their industry.
Visa She’s Next Grant program for Black-Women Owned Businesses.
Visa and iFundWomen have partnered to offer $10,000 to sixty black women-owned businesses throughout the country.
Black women entrepreneurs can also benefit from this program’s exclusive networking and coaching opportunities.
The IFundWomen X Neutrogena Fund
Neutrogena partnered up with iFundWomen, to offer $10,000 to 18 women-owned businesses within the health and wellbeing field.
Qualifying companies are owned by women and support healthy living through mental or physical well-being.
iFundWomen – Monthly Pay-It-Forward
Start a crowdfunding campaign on the iFundWomen website, and you are entered into the monthly Pay It-Forward grant. This grants back 20% of the money iFundWomen has received in crowdfunding fees for that month.
You don’t need to apply — crowdfunding campaigns are automatically added to the pool.
You can find many more grants from this organization on their website. While many of these applications are closed now, new ones will likely be available in the very near future.
iFundWomen always looks for new ways to assist female entrepreneurs in the business arena. They offer grants to companies in specific industries and areas as well as COVID-19 relief and minorities. (Important: We have a complete article on how to locate COVID relief grants within your state. Is your State Offering Back-to-Business Grants?
Keep checking iFundWomen frequently to find out about any new grants. To be added to their database of possible grant recipients, you can also complete their universal grants application.
Tory Burch Foundation
The Tory Burch Foundation gives $5000 to one woman who owns a small business each year.
Three things are required for your business to be eligible:
- Already generating income
The grant will be used to grow your business. This fellowship includes workshops and online classes to provide you with the knowledge you need for greater success.
You will also be able to visit Tory Burch offices to become part of a peer network.
Women’s Founders Network Fast Pitch Contest
According to them, the Women Founders Network exists to “provide access to capital, visibility, and mentorship for female founders.”
Their Fast Pitching Competition gives away more than $25,000 in cash. They also offer mentoring, coaching, and networking opportunities for qualified female entrepreneurs.
Here are the eligibility requirements:
- Women-owned businesses
- Located in the U.S.
- Cannot have raised over $750,000 in external funding or personal contributions
- In the CBD or life sciences
To be eligible, you must also attend the annual Fast Pitch Event. This is where you will present your products and business plan before a panel of judges.
The application fee for the grant competition is $50. The guidelines provide a detailed description of the application procedure.
The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Enterprise Grant
Eileen Fisher started her own clothing company with sustainability as the goal. She is eager to share her vision, success, and values with other female entrepreneurs who value sustainable business.
She created this grant for this exact purpose.
Businesses must meet the following criteria to be eligible.
- Minimum of three years old
- Socially- and environmentally-driven
- Annual profits of 1 million or less
Your company can receive up $120,000 to assist you in your efforts to improve social conditions and the environment around the world.
Also, read Best Housing Grants For Single Mothers
We have some additional articles that might be of use to you:
Resources and Support for Black SMBs
These grants provide financial assistance to women-led businesses in need of working capital. They’re a fantastic alternative to borrowing money from lenders.
However, it is not guaranteed that small businesses will receive any grants, private or government.
The benefits of a financial boost are well worth the effort, even if it is small.